What are the current job skills/responsibilities/task for a DATABASE/DATA ANALYST?
I'm an advertising major, looking to expand into high tech.
I would like to know what it takes to be a data analyst in the silicon valley. #databases #big-data
Here are some thoughts based on my experience.
Role: expected to do a lot with analyzing data and the role varies based on company, we think of this as someone who has high level of statitistics and math training, able to build analytic models and predictive models, really able to test an idea against the data and come back knowing if the hypothesis holds true and with what likelihood of error. This role is usually focused on analytic projects with significant impact on company, some projects can take quite a while, but a lot of data processing, quailty evaluation, cleansing, and normalization takes place along the way. One of the hardest things to learn in academic setting is how to know if your model or other type of results are accurate before company invests money acting on this.
Technology: SQL, R, Python (with Pandas or other libraries), Spark MLLib or Mahout or other machine learning library
Data Analyst (sometimes called Data Scientist now, especially in Silicon Valley)
Role: expected to do less math intense analysis of data and often focus on building reports and dashboards for others to use on a recurring basis. Often partner with business users to help them come up with meaningful metrics or report and should be able to quality check data and find anomalies that would be misleading to management if not explained or cleaned up.
Technology: SQL, Tableau, D3.js
I would agree with Dustin and Kavita. I would also add that this role has a broad definition. In some jobs as a Data Analyst you may be actually building the reports. In those cases SQL skills are required. In other roles as a Data or Database Analyst you may be simply gathering and documenting data requirements and scope. This has to deal with what information needs to be collected, who it needs to go to, how it needs to be represented, and possibly how long it should be maintained. In either case a background in relational database is extremely helpful so you understand how the data will ultimately be stored and retrieved. I would say to be successful in this role you would have a good database background as well as a good understanding of the business area and great communication skills. As others have stated, data related careers are hot and should be for a long time. The need for data and the amount that is collected is constantly on the rise as new uses are discovered. Advertising and marketing are actually driving a lot of this. Targeted marketing, personalized ads in your browser, etc. are driven by the data that is collected and analyzed. This explosion has even led to new data related roles being created such as Data Scientist. I've been architecting, designing, consulting and building databases for over 20 years, it's provided a great career, my skills are always in demand, and there is always something new to learn. Go for it!
If you become proficient in SQL and Python, you will have a lot of opportunities open to you. Tableau skills are also in fairly high demand lately. If someone tells you about a business problem, you should be able to identify the data you would need to address the problem, conduct the analysis, and be able to make recommendations based on the results of that analysis.
The primary data analyst skill set is data mining. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_mining for more information. Data mining means that you're given a dataset and you try to find interesting things about the data, with a goal of doing something important with the data. For instance, you might find that people with certain medical histories are more likely to get cancer, and so you could design practices that help people avoid risky behaviors as well as test people at higher risk.
Data analysis is at the intersection of computer science and statistics. Study both. If you find that studying and designing databases is more your style, then focus on that part of computer science. If you find that the data itself is most interesting, then stick with a blend of CS and stats.
Most importantly, build things! Get datasets from freely-available sources and play with them! Don't worry about trendy software packages or languages or terms. Just find a tool you like and play with data!
I got started by playing with data about US colleges here: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/login.aspx
Or maybe you'd enjoy baseball data: http://sabr.org/sabermetrics/data
Most importantly, don't let anyone tell you that you're "not a real data analyst". This field is pretty new and there's plenty of room for new learners. You'll do great.
Hi Christian! great question and very apt in current times where data is the key.
I agree with all the above answers, especially with Dustin's. A Data Analyst's required job skills can vary from company to company depending on the tech they use. However excellent SQL skills are a must, followed by scripting (Python/PHP/any other scripting language) and Business Intelligence tools/Excel. A Data Analyst is expected to perform data analysis and develop exceptional reporting (dashboards,scorecards etc). A basic knowledge and understanding of statistics is highly desired.
On the other hand a Data Scientist is expected to have all above skills in addition to a much deeper hands on knowledge of data mining using statistical techniques and data modeling.
Hope this helps and Good Luck!
Hi, great question...I work for a large computer company in Texas and Database is a great field, high in demand and well paying.
Including a few links above, with some information about the career:
atabase administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.
GIRIDHAR RAO’s Answer
Some of the data analyst responsibilities/required skills
- Understanding and working with different types of data formats (Databases and file formats)
- Writing SQL queries
- Create basic reports, mostly using excel or similar tools
Krishna Chaitanya’s Answer